**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

The False Prince
by [?]

There was once a respectable journeyman-tailor, named Labakan, who had learned his trade of a clever master in Alexandria. It could not be said that Labakan was unhandy with the needle; on the contrary, he was able to do very fine work. Neither would one be justified in calling him lazy; but still every thing was not just as it should be with the workman, as he often sewed away by the hour at such a rate that the needle became red-hot in his hands, and the thread fairly smoked, and would then show a better piece of work than any one else. But, at another time–and, sad to relate, this occurred more frequently–he would sit plunged in deep thought, looking before him with a fixed gaze, and with something so peculiar in his expression and conduct that his master and the other journeymen were wont to say at such times: “Labakan is putting on airs again.”

But on Fridays, when other people were returning from prayers to their work, Labakan came out of the mosque in a beautiful costume, which he had taken great pains to prepare for himself. He walked slowly and with proud steps through the squares and streets of the city, and whenever he was greeted by any of his comrades with, “Peace be with you,” or, “How are you, friend Labakan?” he condescendingly waved his hand in reply, or gave his superior a princely nod. If his master said to him, “Ah, Labakan, what a prince was lost in you!” he, much flattered, would respond, “Have you, too, remarked that?” or, “That has been my opinion for a long time.”

After this manner had the journeyman conducted himself for a long time; but his master indulged his folly, as otherwise he was a good fellow and a clever workman. But one day, Selim, the brother of the sultan, who was then traveling through Alexandria, sent a court costume to the master, to have certain changes made in it; and the master gave it to Labakan to make the alterations, as he did the best work. At night, after the master and his journeymen had gone out to refresh themselves after their day’s work, an irresistible desire impelled Labakan to go back into the shop where the costume of the sultan’s brother hung. He stood before it, lost in admiration over the splendor of the embroidery and the various shades of velvet and silk. He could not refrain from trying it on; and behold, it fitted him as perfectly as though it had been made for him. “Am I not as good a prince as anybody?” said he to himself, while striding up and down the room. “Has not the master said that I was born to be a prince?” With the clothes, the journeyman seemed to have adopted some quite royal sentiments; he could not banish from his mind the fancy that he was the unacknowledged son of a king; and as such, he resolved to travel about the world, leaving a place where the people had been so foolish as not to recognize his true rank under the cover of his present low position. The splendid costume seemed to him sent by a good fairy. He therefore took care not to slight so welcome a present, pocketed what little ready money he possessed, and, favored by the darkness of the night, strolled out of Alexandria’s gate.

Wherever he appeared, the new prince created quite a sensation; as the splendor of his dress and his grave and majestic air were hardly in keeping with his mode of traveling. When he was questioned on this subject, he was accustomed to reply, in a mysterious way, that there were some very good reasons for his traveling afoot. But when he noticed that he was making himself ridiculous by his foot wanderings, he invested a small sum in an old horse, which was very well adapted to his wants, as, by its lack of speed and spirit, he was never forced into the embarrassing position of showing his skill as a rider–a thing quite out of his line.